Super Furry Animals – Phantom Power

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Super Furry Animals
Artist: Super Furry Animals
Title: Phantom Power
Label: XL
Rating: 9/10

Company Line: Gruff Rhys says of the album: “Speakers and microphones work on phantom power, there’s no batteries and they’re not connected to the mains, and yet they work. Similarly, as a band our make up is the same as anybody else and yet we write songs and play music to people, and we have no idea why. It’s a mysterious power source. I like the idea of it, a phantom power that nobody understands.
“’Phantom Power’ also sounds like a sinister power source that controls the world from beyond people’s comprehension. And a lot of the things that go on today seem completely illogical and I think we watch the world go by with disbelief.”

The Good:
“Hello Sunshine” – If a more gorgeous song exists today I dare you to prove it.
“Golden Retriever” – Ah the pleasure of Gruff’s voice in my ear is like candy in my belly. He goes for the blues and works in some odd lyrics “I met the devil at the roundabout”. He comes correct.
“The Piccolo Snare” – SFA have tapped the ‘60s for all the psychedelic rhythms and pleasures. I want to cry listening to this because of the joy felt as a band brings back a brand of music that has long been lost. Not only do they tap that era but produced a song that would have been a hit in that time period. Bravo.
“Venus And Serena” – Quite a song if you think of who they are singing about even though it doesn’t seem about the tennis stars… yet Gruff uses some tennis words to throw us off. It is absolutely uplifting and a gorgeous track. Did you ever think you’d be singing a chorus about “Venus and Serena”. Doubt it but you will.
‘Bleed Forever” – There is no reason I can give but to say this song rocks.
The Undefeated” – “Noise pollution solution” a gorgeous marching track about the reality of how we can make a difference even when it all seems lost.
“Sex, War & Robots” – A honky tonk meets electrocution at the hands of SFA.

Inbetween:
“Out Of Control” – Their heaviest song that kicks you in the ass but doesn’t push the record forward.
“Valet Parking” – Traveling Europe may not have a better road song.
“Liberty Belle” – Even with the ‘oh oh ohhhhhsssss’ the song doesn’t live up to the giddy attitude.

The Ugly:
Are you kidding?

Frankly: The Super Furry Animals sound rejuvenated and excited to be rocking. This album is so upbeat that you can’t help but walk out and smile at the sun and take a good long, deep breath. Music that makes life seem brighter? Who would have thought rock could do that? I dare to say that the Super Furry Animals are the best band almost everyone won’t hear – not to mention better than every rock band out there today. Radiohead? They can’t hold a candle to these guys. Coldplay? Hah!

Phantom Power is an orgasm without the mess.

+ Charlie Craine

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